Bats live on every continent except Antarctica and help keep our planet healthy by eating insects, pollinating plants and regenerating forests.
Insect-eating bats find their prey by sending out high-pitched sounds and listening for the sounds to bounce back - a process called echolocation.You can try this too! Hold up a stiff piece of paper or cardboard out in front of your face at arm's length. Close your eyes, and start making a loud consistent sound. Bring the paper closer to your face slowly until it touches your nose. Try this again but as soon as you start to hear the sound bouncing off the paper stop and open your eyes; that is how far you can echolocate!
Now test your echolocation with a game of bat and moth! Find two small plastic containers. Put some small rocks in one to make a loud shaker, and put a little bit of sand in the other to make a quiet shaker. The bat player holds the loud shaker and the moth player holds the quiet one. When ready to play, bat and moth players must both cover their eyes. A third person (or more) stands on the outside of the playing area to make sure the bat and moth don't wander too far or walk into anything. Each time the bat shakes their shaker, the moth must mimic that shake pattern. Using that sound the bat can try to locate and tag the moth!
Activity: Build a bat house
As bats lose natural habitat, people can help by providing artificial roosting sites. A properly designed, constructed and located bat house can provide a warm place for female bats to raise their babies, and can offer an alternative roost when bats are "evicted" from human houses. Attracting bats to your property can help keep mosquito and garden pest populations in check!
Click here for bat house instructions and other tips on making your property bat-friendly.